Deputy Denis Naughten has welcomed the news that the Water Regulator has accepted that families in County Roscommon who cannot drink their water will not have to pay for it from October 1.
However, he is calling for urgent action to be taken to put temporary treatment solutions in place.
Since last December, Deputy Naughten has argued that water should be supplied free to people with a boil water notice, until the problem has been resolved. This has now been taken on board by the regulator, who rejected the argument by some that families should only get a 15 per cent discount.
“While this decision acknowledges the significant financial impact of a boil water notice on a family, I believe more importantly that it will make the issue of the boil water notice in County Roscommon a greater priority for Irish Water,” said Deputy Naughten.
“The only way to ensure that resolving these problems is a priority is to hit Irish Water where it hurts - in their pocket. So while Irish Water will still have to supply water, they will not be in a position to charge for it until it is safe to drink. This should apply to businesses and commercial users of water, not just homes.
“Based on timelines set down for Irish Water it will be another 10 or 12 months before the boil water notices are lifted throughout County Roscommon and this is completely unacceptable.
“Presently, Irish Water does not consider a boil water notice as a priority for a temporary treatment solution where it is estimated that the notice will be in place for anything under a 12-month period. In practical terms this can leave communities with contaminated water for periods in excess of 18 months. This is just not good enough.
“There are temporary solutions available, like the one installed in Roscommon town and this should now be put in place for all existing supplies until a final solution is available to treat local water supplies.
“Families have a right to clean safe water and this must now be put to the top of the agenda by Irish Water,” concluded Deputy Naughten.